This review contains mild spoilers
Who ever thought that after the past glorious seven installments, comes an idea to turn Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) into a baddie. The bad yet the good news is that Dom’s rapid change looks unconvincing, however, successfully twists almost everyone’s mind. Almost, as Letty (Michelle Rodriguez) is the only one left to think it might be a conspiracy in which Dom can’t get himself out.
Please welcome Cipher (Charlize Theron), the mysterious woman behind the brand new Dom. Their unexpected yet well-planned encounter in Cuba ignites the conflict, making Dom a traitor as well as the most wanted man in this fast furious world. There’s only minimum hint about both past relationship, thus arousing us curiosity on what kind of deal they’re sealing in this present and future. Does Cipher hold the key to Dom’s darkest yet most precious, something Dom can’t live without, besides Letty who now is officially Mrs. Toretto?
The Fate of the Furious AKA F8 indeed takes a surprising maneuver, a risky strategy to distract our focus on missing Brian O’Conner (Paul Walker) as well as to keep this franchise rolling with dynamic. This family has to encounter the next phase in life when the most reliable member turns into an outlaw and later, their minds are occupied with doubt. Worse, there’s only little time to decide, almost everything; from taking up the leadership from Mr. Nobody (Kurt Russell) to co-existing with the enemy, Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham).
The plot then rolls to focus on the frenemy situation between Shaw and Luke Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) while Dom is away, busy carrying out mission after mission under Cipher’s. With Theron ruling as the ruthless cyber criminal and unsurprisingly nails it, it’s tolerable to see Shaw less vengeful and find his way to be part of the family. Apparently, Shaw is more obsessed with Cipher than he’s with Dom in terms of his brother’s death. Seems everyone’s got a piece of unrevealing truth here.
But still, F8 can’t top the previous, technically and emotionally. Despite the numbers of cars and landscapes taken down to fuel up our adrenaline, supercars jumping between skyscrapers and skydiving off a plane are unbeatable. And despite the gruesome seeing Dom turn his back on his family, there’s nothing as dilemmatic as the fact Walker has gone for good. And even Theron delivers more quality in her character than the rest, Cipher’s act to bombardize her targets brings more destruction than fun, as if she aimed for robots.
The film opens with Dom and Letty enjoying their romantic and thrilling honeymoon in Cuba. Somehow, Letty brings up a topic of Dom being a father in the future, giving us hint that this pair might have one in the end. But then Cipher appears, dominates Dom’s life, and quickly underwhelms our expectation on such baby. The family is gathered up once again, pulling off more jokes until a point it feels too excessive. The cars from various directions are driven as if they’re pulled towards each other to make distracting bumps and noises.
We personally find the brightest side is to see how Hobbs and Shaw develop a mutual despite the win-lose relationship happened in the past. Both also get an enjoyable change in characterization, seemingly appears to be another Dom-Brian on screen. If there’s another, we’re glad F.Gary Gray (The Italian Job, Straight Outta Compton) gives a heist nuance to the plot, a distinctive nature to this particular installment as well as a bigger homework for anyone directing the 9th.
Director: F.Gary Gray
Cast: Vin Diesel, Charlize Theron, Michelle Rodriguez, Tyrese Gibson, Chris Bridges, Kurt Russell, Dwayne Johnson, Jason Statham, Elsa Pataky, Scott Eastwood, Nathalie Emmanuel, Helen Mirren
Duration: 136 mins